section 119(1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section criminalizes the acceptance or offering of money or benefits in exchange for actions or omissions by holders of judicial or political positions.

SECTION WORDING

119(1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years who (a) being the holder of a judicial office, or being a member of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, directly or indirectly, corruptly accepts, obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for themselves or another person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity, or (b) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives or offers to a person mentioned in paragraph (a), or to anyone for the benefit of that person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by that person in their official capacity.

EXPLANATION

Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada criminalizes bribery of public officials. The section makes it an indictable offence for a judicial officer, member of parliament or a legislature to accept or attempt to obtain, directly or indirectly, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment for themselves or a third party in exchange for any act or omission, or for any decision made in their capacity as a public official. Similarly, it also criminalizes the act of giving or offering any benefit to a person who holds a public office, directly or indirectly, for their own benefit or the benefit of a third party, in exchange for any act or omission in their official capacity. The section aims to protect the integrity of public officials and the public's trust in public institutions. It is also intended to prevent public officials from using their position for personal gain or the gain of others. The penalty for violating this section is severe, including up to 14 years of imprisonment, signifying the seriousness of such offences. Furthermore, this section is part of the comprehensive legislation enacted by the Canadian Parliament to deal with corruption, bribery, and the abuse of public office in Canada. The section also highlights the importance of holding public officials accountable for their actions, thereby emphasizing the need for transparency, integrity, and honesty in public service. Overall, Section 119(1) reflects Canada's commitment to promoting good governance and preventing corruption.

COMMENTARY

Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the offence of corruption by public officials. It states that any person holding a judicial office or serving as a member of Parliament or any provincial legislature would be guilty of an indictable offence if they directly or indirectly accept, obtain, agree to accept, or attempt to obtain any money, valuable consideration, office, place, or employment for themselves or another person in exchange for anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity. Similarly, if any person mentioned in paragraph (a) is given or offered any money, valuable consideration, office, place, or employment, either directly or indirectly, for anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity, they are guilty of an indictable offence. The offence of corruption by public officials is a serious one, and it is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. This section of the Criminal Code is aimed at maintaining the integrity of the public office and ensuring that individuals serving in such positions do not use their authority for personal gain. The term 'corruptly' is used in the section and implies that the act must be done with dishonest intentions. Thus, for a person to be convicted of the offence, it is not enough that they accepted or offered a bribe. The prosecution must establish that the act was done with corrupt intentions. This section is critical for maintaining public trust and ensuring that public officials are held to the highest standards of ethical conduct. Corruption by public officials in any form undermines the democratic values and social norms of society. It affects the legitimacy of the government and reduces public confidence in institutions. Thus, this section plays a pivotal role in preventing corruption and ensuring accountability. However, the effectiveness of this section may be limited by a lack of reporting or investigation of the offence. Several cases of corruption by public officials may go unreported or uninvestigated due to the fear of repercussions. Moreover, some acts of corruption may be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, there must be adequate resources and support for investigations to ensure that those who commit such offences are brought to justice. In conclusion, Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial component of the legal framework aimed at preventing corruption by public officials. While its implementation may face some challenges, the section remains vital in ensuring that public officials remain accountable and free from any corrupt behaviour. The integrity of the public office should be maintained at all costs, and public officials should be held to the highest ethical standards.

STRATEGY

Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits corrupt practices in relation to judicial officials, parliamentarians, and provincial legislature members. It is important for all stakeholders to understand the strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. These considerations include the nature of the offense, the investigative and prosecutorial process, and potential defenses. One strategic consideration is the nature of the offense. As an indictable offense carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, charges brought under Section 119(1) represent a significant legal consequence for accused parties. Conviction under this section can lead to permanent damage to the reputation of the accused, including disqualification from elected or appointed office, disbarment, and other professional discipline. The potential consequences heighten the stakes for both the prosecution and the defense, making it critical to approach the process strategically. Another strategic consideration is the investigative and prosecutorial process. The investigation of alleged offenses under Section 119(1) can be complex and lengthy, involving the collection and analysis of extensive evidence. The prosecution is responsible for establishing the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, which requires a carefully crafted case. The defense, for its part, will need to analyze the prosecution's evidence and strategy to develop counterarguments and defenses. A third strategic consideration is potential defenses. Alleged offenders under Section 119(1) may argue that they did not act corruptly, that they did not receive or offer consideration, or that they were not acting in their official capacity at the time of the alleged offense. Proving any of these defenses can require careful analysis and presentation of evidence. As such, defense counsel must identify the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments to craft an effective strategy. Several strategies can be employed to effectively navigate Section 119(1) cases. For example, it may be advisable to conduct a parallel investigation and/or risk assessment, beginning with a thorough internal review of the accused party's conduct, actions, and interactions. In addition, counsel may seek to negotiate plea agreements for lesser charges or penalties, given the weighty nature of Section 119(1) allegations. Another useful strategy is to develop a coordinated defense approach focused on addressing the charges against the accused party. This will require analyzing the specific elements of Section 119(1) and the evidence on which the prosecution relies. Counsel should work closely with the accused party to develop a comprehensive defense that includes a well-crafted narrative, clear explanations of the accused party's actions, and a plan for minimizing the potential damage of the charges. Effective communication and collaboration between counsel and the accused party are also essential. The accused party must be fully engaged and transparent, providing all information and details surrounding the allegations. Counsel must also work closely with forensic accountants, subject matter experts, and other professionals to develop a compelling defense. In conclusion, navigating Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code requires a strategic approach, developed through a careful analysis of the nature of the offense, the investigative and prosecutorial process, and potential defenses. Employing strategies including parallel investigations, coordinated defense, negotiation, and effective communication can lead to a successful resolution for the accused party involved.